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Dual-credit teachers may get extension for new standards

November 19, 2015

Indiana educators struggling over an impending change in requirements for high school teachers of dual-credit classes may be getting an extension.

The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits colleges and universities in Indiana, is offering a reprieve from its September 2017 timeline. Instead, a panel will review applications and consider extensions lasting as long as September 2022, according to commission spokesman John Hausaman.

Teachers of high school classes for which students can receive college credit are included under the commission's new academic requirements for college instructors. They would have to get a master's degree in the subject they specialize in, or a master's degree in another subject and at least 18 graduate credit hours in their teaching subject.

Colleges and universities with dual-credit programs or the state's Commission for Higher Education would have until September to apply for an extension. The state commission plans to apply for a five-year extension on behalf of institutions, spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson said.

Hausaman said the Higher Learning Commission opted to allow for requests for extension based on feedback. Indiana educators had voiced concerns about the new requirements.

John Newby, assistant vice president of K-12 Initiatives with Ivy Tech Community College, said "we can certainly feel better about things" with the potential extension.

"It gives us a little breathing room," he told the South Bend Tribune.

David Maugel, principal of NorthWood High School in Nappanee, said an extra five years gives teachers more time for coursework. But he told The Elkhart Truth it doesn't give them money needed to pay for classes.

"Without financial support for tuition and salary increases, it will be difficult to get teachers motivated to complete the course work," Maugel said.

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